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What is Antibiotic Resistance?

Antibiotic resistance occurs when an antibiotic has lost the ability to control or kill bacterial growth. This means the bacteria become “resistant” and multiply, even in the presence of an antibiotic. There are many commonly-known resistant infections called Hospital-Acquired Infections (HAIs) that plague hospitals and other healthcare environments.
Many bacteria. A few are drug resistant.
Antibiotics kill many of the bacteria that are causing the illness in addition to the good bacteria.
The drug-resistant bacteria now have the perfect environment to multiply and take over.

When Did Antibiotic Resistance Start?

Antibiotic resistance started being a noticeable problem in the late 1930s and early 1940s. Since then, resistance to dozens of drugs has become a serious (and sometimes fatal) problem. In May 2016, the first case of an antibiotic-resistant strain of E. coli (carrying the MCR-1 gene) was discovered in a human in the United States. The MCR-1 gene makes the bacteria resistant to the antibiotic colistin, which is used as a last-resort drug to treat patients with multi-drug-resistant infections.

Are HAI’s Antibiotic Resistant?

More than 70% of the bacteria that cause HAIs are resistant to at least one of the drugs most commonly used to treat them. Common infections include Staphylococcus aureus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Escherichia coli and Clostridium difficile.

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What Will Happen If Things Don’t Change?

If no changes are made, 10 million people per year are expected to die from drug-resistant infections by the year 2050, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information. Hospitals are meant to lead people along a path to healing, but at what point does the risk become too great? Already, HAIs are becoming increasingly common every year and sometimes result in patient deaths. The unfortunate reality is many times, resistant infections are acquired inside the hospital during treatment via cross-contamination. While many hospitals have taken action by implementing rigorous bedside cleaning standards, methods like sanitizing wipes and chemical sprays have proven to be ineffective against antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

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